Nick Clegg
by Nick Clegg

Over the last decade the Liberal Democrats have been fortunate to have had a healthy internal debate over the future of liberal ideas and Liberal Democrat party policies. Each of The Orange Book, Reinventing the State and The Green Book have brought interesting and powerful ideas to the table. Many of the ideas in those publications have become party, and indeed government, policy and I’m sure more will in the future.

The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead stands firmly in that proud tradition. Along with most other readers I don’t agree with every idea in here, and I suspect not all of them will make the cut as party policy. But I do welcome them as exciting, innovative and thoughtful contributions to debates about what our party should stand for and do over the next decade. I’m sure they will provoke plenty of passionate and thoughtful debate – at conference, on the fringe and beyond.

I particularly welcome the fact this is not simply authored by a list of the party’s “great and good” returning to their favourite policy hobby-horses. Instead this is an authentically grassroots and diverse publication with ideas, wisdom, experience and views coming from all parts of the party. That is absolutely as it should be; Westminster, Whitehall and indeed our party committees are very far from having a monopoly of wisdom when it comes to policy formation.

Our party has always been one of vibrant debate and intellectual discussion, as a liberal party should be. The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead is an important contribution to those debates and discussion, and one I hope party members will engage with. Congratulations to Liberal Reform and all those involved in pulling it together – let the debates begin!

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